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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

1961 - 1962 : Benfica - Real Madrid

SL Benfica 5-3 Real Madrid CF

Twenty-nine teams entered the European Champion Clubs' Cup in 1961/62. Despite the increased competition, two familiar names emerged to contest a classic final in Amsterdam: SL Benfica and Real Madrid CF. The holders had reinforced with the signing of Mozambique-born striker Eusébio, and it was he who inspired their 4-3 aggregate victory over Tottenham Hotspur FC in the semi-finals.

Juve test
Spurs, conquerors of KS Górnik Zabrze, Feyenoord and Dukla Prague (now FC Príbram), had just claimed the English double of first division championship and FA Cup and were one of a number of crack sides in the draw. Another, Juventus FC, complete with Welsh and Argentinian internationals John Charles and Omar Sivori, had provided Madrid with their toughest test in the quarter-finals. Alfredo di Stéfano's goal separated the sides in the first leg in Turin. But the Italian side won by the same margin at Chamartín, so ending Madrid's unbeaten home record in Europe. This meant a play-off in Paris, which finished 3-1 in favour of Madrid.

Rising star
In this form - with Di Stéfano, Ferenc Puskás and Luis Del Sol at their peak - the Merengues represented a major challenge to a Benfica side many had thought lucky to beat FC Barcelona the previous season. So it proved as a Puskás hat-trick gave Madrid a 3-2 interval lead in the final. Yet the Lisbon team rallied, levelling through Mario Coluna before the rising star, Eusébio, settled the match with two cannonball strikes.

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